How can you tell a Barred Plymouth Rock 5-week old female apart from a Black Sex Link Male?


5 Years
Aug 12, 2014
OK, now I'm TOTALLY confused!
I got the Special Assortment from McMurray 5 weeks ago, and I was CONVINCED I had 7 Barred Rocks.
4 were very easy to spot as boys--lots of red comb, very light color. One is quite obviously a dark girl.
But then I have two that LOOK like males (to me?) but are darker like the females. UGH!!! More boys?!?!
Say it ain't so!!!!
Worst. Straight-Run. Luck. EVER!

I'll post pics later, though I did have some on the other day. Just wondering how you can tell the difference between a Black Star (which McMurray does carry) and a female Plymouth Rock at 5-weeks.

I depends on the sex of the Black Sex Link (Black Star). Male BSL chicks have a white spot on top of their heads and look virtually identical to Barred Rocks (both sexes), and as they mature, they develop a barred pattern. Female BSL chicks' heads are solid black (no white spot), and as they mature remain black but develop some reddish or copper colored feathers around the neck area.
At 5 weeks old, the BSL males will have barring similar to a pure BR pullet, but the comb will be turning pink already, usually. The pure BR cockerel will have lighter overall coloring with distinct and regular white bars, not ghosty or sketchy as with a BSL male. Sometimes, it is hard to tell the BSL cockerel from a hatchery quality pure BR pullet until they get past the 6 week point and that comb on the male starts popping up there.

This is a single barred cockerel who is 4 weeks old, which is what a BSL male would be like-you can see, some would think it was a pullet, but since he doesn't have 2 barring genes of a normal BR cockerel, he is very dark with sketchy, irregular barring.

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Agree with speckledhen, at this age it's all going to be about the comb. The barring, head spot and leg color will be identical. My bsl cockerels are about 3 months old now and have combs the size of my mature hens. I don't have pics from younger, but they were very obvious next to their lone sister.

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